Come tell me what the funniest line is you've ever read in a book :-D

(72 Posts)
Jacksmania Mon 28-Oct-13 18:47:19

Have just been reading "Silken Prey" by John Sandford, and laughed so hard at this line I woke up DH who was not very pleased with me grin

In the book, Lucas Davenport says something to another police officer about the police commissioner (I believe that's her title), Rose Marie Roux, and the other cop shouts "Fuck a bunch of Rose Marie! I'm going to put wheels on that bitch and roll her right into the Mississippi!"

<roar> grin

Yours?

Jacksmania Tue 29-Oct-13 21:55:59

Aw... really?
Just not that funny, huh? sad

GlaikitFizZombieFodder Wed 30-Oct-13 18:47:23

"It was the day my grandmother exploded" opening line of the Crow Road. I had to just go check it, but I remember reading that for the first time and spitting my tea out!

Jacksmania Wed 30-Oct-13 18:54:37

Really? grin grin grin
I think I must find that book - who's the author?

I love you Glaikit for posting on my thread smile

WereTricksPotter Wed 30-Oct-13 19:01:11

I love a lot of lines in Raymond Chandler books, too many to post here.

Christopher Brookmyre can be very funny too.

The exchange between Montmorency the terrier and the cat who Does Not Give A Shit in Three Men In A Boat always makes me laugh.

GlaikitFizZombieFodder Wed 30-Oct-13 19:03:22

The dearly departed Iain Banks wonderful Scottish author.

I am going to have to read it again now for the eleventy millionth time

ObtuseAngel Wed 30-Oct-13 19:12:42

Ohh, The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory are both only 99p on Kindle at the moment.

I'm going to go and have a hard think about books that have made me laugh. I have laughed out loud at lots of books, but I can't remember exact lines.

SvarteKatterogFlosshatter Wed 30-Oct-13 19:17:03

Mine is a passage in 'Very Good Jeeves' by Wodehouse where Wooster is trapped by a swan on an island and Jeeves has to fight it off with a coat. grin

I have it on audiobook and every time I get to that bit I cry with laughter.

GlaikitFizZombieFodder Wed 30-Oct-13 19:19:32

Ooh are they obtuse?! My crow road is very well thumbed but would buy it on a kindle so I can read on the go!

joanofarchitrave Wed 30-Oct-13 19:20:35

"'Chip, more appropriate name,' said Kimi dismally, inspecting it."

I know it doesn't sound that funny but I had to lie down on the floor when I was reading this. I like comic authors who write in long paragraphs with a zinger at the end, but they're hard to quote. It's from The Plague and I by Betty MacDonald.

And I've posted these ones before but they still make me laugh:

'Plato would have jumped out of his sandals at the mere thought of a human being looking like Arnold, i.e. like a brown condom full of walnuts'. (Clive James, Flying Visits)

'God! those rhododendron buds had a phallic, urgent look!' (Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm)

JollyScaryGiant Wed 30-Oct-13 19:29:11

Robert Rankin's Brentford books make me laugh out loud all the way through. Will have a look and see if I can find a particular quote.

Jacksmania Wed 30-Oct-13 19:59:18

"A brown condom full of walnuts" <wheeze> grin grin grin

Brilliant!

I have to admit I shocked another mum at kindergarten drop-off this morning, I was talking to a good friend who doesn't mind a bit of swearing she's a reformed potty mouth like me and I was complaining about DS's kindy teacher who has scheduled a field trip to the pumpkin patch tomorrow - on Hallowe'en, so they will miss dressing up for school, there will be no pumpkins left, or if there are, they will be the sad tiny little rejects, and of course we won't have time to carve any pumpkins between pick-up time and when it gets dark enough to go trick-or-treating... all because she has certain religious beliefs and doesn't like Hallowe'en, which is fine, but imposing her beliefs on the little ones is not fine - they were all excited to dress up for kindy, and now will be slogging around a stupid empty pumpkin patch... and breathe... sorry for rant blush...

Anyway.... the three of us were standing around after the kids went in, bitching talking about this, and I said "Fuck a bunch of Mrs Kindergarten Teacher" which made my good friend choke on her coffee grin and the other mum look at me like shockhmm before she warmed up to grin

Must watch language around untried mums blush

PoppyAmex Portugal Wed 30-Oct-13 20:02:37

PG Wodehouse, Bertie speaking:

"Very good," I said coldly. "In that case, tinkerty-tonk."
And I meant it to sting.

joanofarchitrave Wed 30-Oct-13 20:10:53

grin poppy

ghostonthecanvas Wed 30-Oct-13 20:20:36

Terry pratchett was the first author to make me laugh out loud in a public place. Can think of any examples now because my brain is very leaky. The best line I ever read was in a crime thriller. Last line in the book. 'The mineshaft was empty'. Can't remember the book or the author but Harrison Ford was in the movie.....
Best line recently was solesorceress and involved swearing and plucking. I think. Jeez I might be menopausal. I can't remember anything!

choccyp1g Portugal Wed 30-Oct-13 20:30:11

From "the 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared"

"And they all lived happily ever after" which was the piss mistake in the rejected bibles which one of the characters read ALL THE WAY THROUGH comparing each line against another copy.

SvarteKatterogFlosshatter Wed 30-Oct-13 20:39:24

I adored "The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared" - the way it was written was extremely funny all the way through, in a surreal sort of way.

SuperLemonCrush Wed 30-Oct-13 20:46:25

There's a Garrison Keillor story where he describes a woman with dyed black hair wearing a purple jumpsuit as something like "she was seventy, but could pass for a sixty year old who had had a hard life". Most of "Lake Wobegon Days" et al can make me snort out loud.....

GlaikitFizZombieFodder Wed 30-Oct-13 21:24:15

How could I forget HGTTG! So many wet your pants funny lines!

GlaikitFizZombieFodder Wed 30-Oct-13 21:27:20

One I remember, "they hung in the air, exactly the way bricks don't"

'She climbed nimbly onto the bus, like a mountain lion. Well, like a sobbing mountain lion wearing a miniskirt, so not really like a mountain lion at all.'

Jacksmania Wed 30-Oct-13 22:42:01

These are great grin

hackmum Thu 31-Oct-13 09:47:37

Another one who adored The 100-year old man. Very very funny.

Loads of good lines in Hitch-hiker's - I am particularly fond of:

Ford: "It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
Arthur: "What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
Ford: "You ask a glass of water."

Caitlin17 Sat 02-Nov-13 02:57:30

'It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine," observed P G Wodehouse.

There's loads of great one liners in Lucky Jim

"Feather footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole" from Evelyn Waugh's Scoop

Louise1956 Sat 02-Nov-13 05:34:03

'Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French' - opening sentence of The Luck of the Bodkins by P.G. Wodehouse.

DuchessofMalfi Sat 02-Nov-13 08:36:56

Some of the best I've read come from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels - example from Seven Up -

"Is that a bulletproof vest? See, now that's so insulting. That's like saying I'm not smart enough to shoot you in the head".

NotCitrus Sat 02-Nov-13 08:48:27

Hitchhiker's is great - Mostly Harmless wasn't nearly as good except for one scene where Arthur Dent is plummeting through the air hanging onto a small robot he's named Colin, who can fly, but isn't going up when yelled at.
"Arthur realised he had forgotten to tell Colin that his name was Colin. 'Robot,' he said, 'your name is Colin. So when I shout Colin, go up, I want you, Colin, to go up. Get it?"

Christopher Brookmyre is hysterical, especially when Sarah is being sarcastic at Jack Parlabane, but my favourite scene is in Be my Enemy where Jack finds a rope that isn't. Has me in stitches every time and I don't like gory fiction.

Jacksmania Sat 02-Nov-13 17:10:58

Oh, I read one the other day that had me in stitches and now I can't remember it!!! <wails>

woowoo22 Sat 02-Nov-13 17:50:18

Jacksmania you have reminded me why I should get my finger out and keep a reading journal! Keep meaning to start one. Have laughed at loads of bits in books but I forget everything unless it is written down somewhere. Bill Bryson' s Notes from a small island has lots of funny lines, can't bloody remember them though!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sun 03-Nov-13 12:07:22

In "The Talented Mr Ripley" when Tom has just killed someone and is disposing of the body -
Freddie was still limp as a rubber doll. What was all this about rigor mortis?....Tom cursed his ugly weight... He was tired, tired to the point of crying, sick of the sight of Fredie Miles..

Patricia Highsmith makes a cold blooded killer sound like a petulant toddler.

There are lots of snappy witty lines in Nora Ephron's ""Heartburn" but I laughed at
I wish I'd known it was Thema's birthday; I would have sent her a present myself.
A garotte.

I found this scene from "The Birds of The Air" by Alice Thomas Ellis (a Book People discovery) hilarious.

The setting is a rather disastrous Christmas day where an emotional Barbara has got drunk and has been doused with coffee-grains and water by her well-meaning teenage son.

"^It was to this scene that the others returned.
They saw Barbara on the floor, lying wet and dirt-streaked and weeping, Mary poised over her with a rug as though her sister was a budgerigar who would not be silent for the night...^"

It really tickled me but dh just looked slightly embarrassed for me when I read it out to him with tears running down my face.

I really like the sound of "100 year old..." and will put it on my Christmas list.

Thewhingingdefective Mon 04-Nov-13 17:47:24

I don't have the book to hand and it's non fiction so shouldn't really be in this thread, but in Racing Pigs and Giant Marrows by Harry Pearson, there is a description of a small animal exhibition at a country fair that cracks me up. There's a sign near the cavies that are for sale that reads 'pet only' to deter anyone standing by, holding two slices of bread and slavering.

Jacksmania Mon 04-Nov-13 18:31:30

I'm just reading "Fool" by Christopher Moore. It has too many funny lines to count. Also by Moore, "Lamb: the Gospel of Biff, Christ's Childhood Friend", and its sequel "The Stupidest Angel" - rib-crackingly funny.

JaimeLea Thu 21-Nov-13 18:43:01

One of the amusing verses from The Mighty Kalym is funny. "But little did they know that Kalym was scared. He silently prayed that his life would be spared. As he crept about quietly he made a rude sound. He thought he’d heard a Troll skulking around." Or at least that's what my son thinks.

Ellisisland Thu 21-Nov-13 18:46:04

Loads of lines from 'my family and other animals' by Gerald Durrell have me crying with laughter. grin

MadeOfStarDust Thu 21-Nov-13 20:45:51

Bill Bryson books are always good for a belly laugh....my fave is

In notes from a big country - when he is flying and knocks his drink onto a lady's lap not once, but twice ..... the description of doing it is funny enough, but then she uttered words starting with Oh... finished with Sake and in between had some words he never heard uttered in public before......

" certainly not by a nun......"

SparklyFucker Thu 21-Nov-13 20:56:34

Pretty much anything by Pratchett can have me crying with laughter, "What are a safety catch?" from Men at Arms(?) and "When Mister Safety Catch is not on, Mr Crossbow is not your friend" from The Fifth Elephant are particular favourites. I can usually barely breathe oe see through the tears of laughter by the time I reach the end of those paragraphs.

DawnOfTheDee Thu 21-Nov-13 20:57:52

“Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: ‘Andre creep…Andre creep… Andre creep.’”

Not sure what book it's from but there's a competition each year to find the worst and funniest opening lines to a book.

notnowImreading Thu 21-Nov-13 21:02:34

'I was feeling as faint as a fat woman at a fireman's ball.'
'It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.'
'I'm an occasional drinker. The kind of guy who occasionally goes out for a beer and wakes up two weeks later in Singapore with a full beard.'
All Raymond Chandler - so many more. Love him.

Greensleeves Thu 21-Nov-13 21:05:15

Slaughterhouse 5

am paraphrasing a bit

"Roland had been unpopular in Pittsburgh. He was always being ditched in Pittsburgh by people who did not want him with them. Roland had been unpopular because he was stupid and fat and mean, and smelled like bacon no matter how much he washed."

andthepiggotupandslowlywalkeda Thu 21-Nov-13 21:07:03

A compilation of Clive James's television reviews. Describing Barbara Cartland: 'Twin miracles of mascara, her eyes looked like the corpses of two small crows that had crashed into a chalk cliff.'

More CJ moments of joy here

Also, Louise, thank you for the quote about the Englishman about to speak French. I was trying to remember who wrote that just the other day.

Bill Bryson (trip around America) always has me in stitches ...

LittleNoona Thu 21-Nov-13 21:14:02

From A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole grin

“I dust a bit...in addition, I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."

“I suspect that I am the result of particularly weak conception on the part of my father. His sperm was probably emitted in a rather offhand manner.”

“It's not your fate to be well treated," Ignatius cried. "You're an overt masochist. Nice treatment will confuse and destroy you.”

“Mother went out again tonight, looking like a courtesan.”

“I should perhaps warn you that I am about to faint from anxiety and general depression, though. The film I saw last night was especially grueling, a teen-age beach musical. I almost collapsed during the singing sequence on surfboard.”

“Go dangle your withered parts over the toilet!' Ignatius screamed savagely.”

“She ran into the bathroom and powdered her face and the front of her dress, drew a surrealistic version of a mouth beneath her nose, and dashed into her bedroom to find a coat.”

I cannot remember for the life of me where I read this.

"my mother made me a homosexual"

"if I give her the wool, will she make me one too?"

ShriekingGnawer Thu 21-Nov-13 21:52:40

I've read that too, tantrums, but also can't remember where.

ShriekingGnawer Thu 21-Nov-13 21:57:36

Apparently it's graffiti!

ElleBellyBeeblebrox Italy Fri 22-Nov-13 05:59:54

Lots of catch 22, but the whole trial scene has me in tears.

"Oh, my God! Read me back his last line, stupid. Say, what the hell's your name, anyway?"

"Popinjay, sir."

"Well, you're next, Popinjay. As soon as this trial ends, your trial begins. Get it?"

DrankSangriaInThePark Spain Fri 22-Nov-13 06:23:58

Oh Bill Bryson, almost everything he says makes me wee (and insanely jealous I can't be that funny)

I know she has now plumbed the depths of shite-ness but in the first Bridget Jones, the comment about Mark Darcy being moody- something about being called Mr Darcy and standing leaning on mantlepieces at parties being like being called Heathcliff and running round in the dark banging your head against trees. I first read that in an airport and really did scare people when I l-o-l'd.

Off to buy the Crow Road- loved it, and Espedair St, wonder if that is only 99p as well?

MorgauseIsNotBlinking Fri 22-Nov-13 06:39:48

YY to Bill Bryson and Clive James also the Blessed Spike -

'Caw!' said the crow. 'Balls!' said the Milligan. Peering intently from behind a wall was something that Milligan could only hope was a face. The fact that it was hanging from a hat gave credulity to his belief.

Optimist1 Fri 22-Nov-13 07:52:47

P G Wodehouse : She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say "when."
Also : I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled

SkullyAndBones Fri 22-Nov-13 10:51:27

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett.

There is too much 'life' and inanimate objects are suddenly animating, and there is this passage where a pair of trousers runs past followed by a man "trying to do with a hastily snatched flannel what usually takes a whole pair of pants to achieve" running after them.

makes me hoot every time i read that section.

LegoCaltrops Tue 26-Nov-13 17:45:29

I cannot read 'Three Men In A Boat' in public. I've C&P this, as you can see, the author isn't exactly brief.

We are very fond of pine-apple, all three of us.
He looked at the picture on the tin ; we thought
of the juice. We smiled at one another, and
Harris got a spoon ready.

Then we looked for the knife to open the tin
with. We turned out everything in the hamper.
We turned out the bags. We pulled up the boards
at the bottom of the boat. We took everything
out on to the bank and shook it. There was no
tin-opener to be found.

Then Harris tried to open the tin with a
pocket-knife, and broke the knife and cut himself
badly ; and George tried a pair of scissors, and
the scissors flew up, and nearly put his eye out.
While they were dressing their wounds, I tried to
make a hole in the thing with the spiky end of
the hitcher, and the hitcher slipped and jerked me
out between the boat and the bank into two feet
of muddy water, and the tin rolled over, unin-
jured, and broke a teacup.

Then we all got mad. We took that tin out on
the bank, and Harris went up into a field and got
a big sharp stone, and I went back into the boat
and brought out the mast, and George held the
tin and Harris held the sharp end of his stone
against the top of it, and I took the mast and
poised it high in the air, and gathered up all my
strength and brought it down.

It was George's straw hat that saved his life
that day. He keeps that hat now (what is left of
it), and, of a winter's evening, when the pipes are
lit and the boys are telling stretchers about the
dangers they have passed through, George brings
it down and shows it round, and the stirring tale
is told anew, with fresh exaggerations every time.
Harris got off with merely a flesh wound.
After that, I took the tin off myself, and ham-
mered at it with the mast till I was worn out and
sick at heart, whereupon Harris took it in hand.

We beat it out flat ; we beat it back square ; we
battered it into every form known to geometry
but we could not make a hole in it. Then George
went at it, and knocked it into a
shape so strange, so weird, so un-
earthly in its wild hideousness, that
he got frightened and threw away
the mast. Then we all three sat
round it on the grass and looked at it.
There was one great dent across
the top that had the appearance of
a mocking grin, and it drove us furious, so that
Harris rushed at the thing, and caught it up, and
flung it far into the middle of the river, and as it
sank we hurled our curses at it, and we got into
the boat and rowed away from the spot, and never
paused till we reached Maidenhead.

Beeyump Mexico Wed 27-Nov-13 16:32:45

Lego I adore the pineapple section of 3 men! I say, 'We beat it out flat; we beat it back square' whenever a remotely appropriate opportunity arises, then hoot with laughter while others look hmm

LegoCaltrops Wed 27-Nov-13 16:47:48

Haha. I also think the section with Montmorency hindering the packing of the hamper, worrying the lemons like rats, putting his leg in the jam etc, is hilarious. grin I have to read it again now...

Beeyump Mexico Wed 27-Nov-13 17:06:15

And George sits on the butter, then chases round trying to find it! <dies>

HomeHelpMeGawd Wed 27-Nov-13 17:20:38

Carl Hiaasen has the most extraordinary, funny turn of phrase. Some egs:
“Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell from a palm tree and hit him on the head.”
“Hey. Sometimes life is a shit flavored Popsicle.”
“The man's a born straggler, Honey thought, another lucky exception to the rules of natural selection. A million years ago he would've been an easy snack for a saber-toothed tiger.”

Anjou Wed 27-Nov-13 17:21:28

This is a little crude, which usually really is not my thing, but I've grown to love the Joe R Lansdale characters, Hap & Leonard. Their dialogue is always hilarious, but this one stands out in my ageing memory...

"I hit him so hard I bet his dog back home shit a turd in the shape of a praying Jesus". - Hap Collins, Bad Chili by Joe R Lansdale.

PlumSykes Mon 27-Jan-14 18:42:18

India Knight makes me cry with laughter. I remember having to ban myself from reading one of her books on my commute, for fear of looking too much of a loon.

ItsATIARA Fri 31-Jan-14 21:40:09

We love Gideon Dafoe's Pirates books, which have too many brilliant lines for me to type on my phone. Top family fave for some reason is:

"Moider!!" said the Pirate from the Bronx, who pretty much lived for these moments.

And, from a later volume:

"Moider!!" said the Pirate from the Bronx, who'd been worried he wasn't going to get a look-in on this adventure.

CoteDAzur Sat 01-Feb-14 23:21:30

I don't know about the funniest line I've ever read in a book, but this has to be one of the funniest:

"Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised."

It is the opening line of the book The Worst Journey In The World , a chronicle of Scott's last expedition to Antarctica written by one of its survivors.

goodtimesinbontemps Sat 01-Feb-14 23:28:17

James Herriott, All Creatures Great and Small! I found his books absolutely hilarious, I used to read them on the bus into work and would have tears in my eyes from trying to stifle my laughter.

SarahAndFuck England Sun 02-Feb-14 21:51:06

DS last night had me repeat over and over the bit in BFG where he meets the Queen and calls her all these names "Oh Monarcher! Oh Sovereign! Oh Ruler! Oh Ruler of Straight Lines!" because he thought it was funny.

CoteDAzur, that book is one of the most perfect I have ever read for many reasons, not least the description of Mount Erebus.

CoteDAzur Mon 03-Feb-14 12:16:21

I loved it, too. Could have done with less of what each pony ate and when etc but without those details it would have been a different book, of course.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 03-Feb-14 21:51:08

Mr. Gum:

The truth is a lemon meringue.

dementedma Sun 09-Feb-14 16:27:01

bacon huge Mr Gum fans in this house. V v funny.
Also, Janet Evanovitch, Bill Bryson and of course, Gerald Durrell.

AnneWentworth Fri 14-Feb-14 12:49:40

The Foundation Pit has a great 2 pages all about the audacity of Communist Chickens and the missing Rooster. Hilarious.

Caitlin17 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:15:50

“elle a des idees au-dessus de sa gare” ...

From Terence Rattigan's French Without Tears.

Kenneth: 'If you're so hot, you can tell me how to say she has ideas above her station.'
Brian:'Oh yes, I forgot. It's fairly easy, old boy.
Elle a des idees au-dessus de sa gare.'
Kenneth: 'Idiot. It's not that kind of station.'

livelablove Sat 22-Feb-14 17:08:02

I know this is not what you meant OP but I have recently read Lord Roworth's revenge by Carola Dunn, it is a recency romance. I had been perfectly mature about the heroine being named Fanny until I came to the section where Roworth realises he loves her and is about to gallop off to see her. It ends with the line "oh Gad, he wanted Fanny". Sorry but I did laugh.

There's a story in Rock Star Babylon by Jon Holmes which had me literally weeping with laughter when I read it, and I had great difficulty in telling the story to the people I was with because I could hardly breathe at the time. The set up is wonderful though. It was about the filming of the video for Ozzy Osbourne's song Miracle Man, which involved him standing on an altar in a church in London while 1,000 pigs (yes, really) were running round the church itself. I'm going to have to quote a section rather than a single line though:

The film crew had set up, the lights were lit, the pigs were in place and the Prince of Darkness was atop the altar, arms outstretched in crucifix pose, ready to mime to the song. The camera rolled to speed, the director called 'Action', the sound engineer pressed 'play' to bring in the track for Ozzy to sing along with and everyone held their breath. The first monster guitar chord obediently kicked in loud enough to wake the devil himself. And a thousand pigs simultaneously shat themselves all over the church.

The clean-up operation took a month.

KittensoftPuppydog Mon 03-Mar-14 16:48:55

Another vote for lucky Jim.

everythingiknow Mon 03-Mar-14 17:10:52

From 'You are Awful (but I like you) Travels through Unloved Britain' by Tim Moore, he is describing (in Chapter 1) how he sets out to find the very worst car ever made in Britain to use, for his planned tour of this country's least loved places; and it's the Austin Maestro.

'One motoring magazine's launch review drolly encapsulated the Maestro thus: 'Truly a car for the 80s - or any 90 year olds still up to driving'....He goes on to describe how things keep falling off the car, etc; 'Living with the Maestro meant a permanent oil stain on your driveway, and a mechanical soundtrack that has been memorably compared to 'a skeleton wanking in a biscuit tin'. (Oh and later on Moore downloads Ozzy Osbourne's voice for his Sat-Nav - which is side-splittingly funny too....grin)

It's a hilarious book - do read it if you want to laugh-out-loud!

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